Let’s get one thing straight. Donald Trump is not exactly Richard Holbrooke. He has somehow made even our own Alan Grayson seem mild-mannered and silver-tongued.
And let’s also agree that his comments about John McCain’s military service were borderline insane. From a pragmatic political perspective, those words should have never been uttered because they will hurt his campaign, not to mention his all-precious brand. And from a human perspective, his words were crass, insensitive and wrong.
Hey Donald, I know you like people who weren’t captured; I like people who know how to show a little respect.
There, I got that out of my system.
So let me get one more thing out as well.
The expected outrage – OUTRAGE, I TELL YOU – coming from the other candidates was as predictable as it was calculating.
Marco Rubio said Trump’s comments were a “disqualifier,” Jeb Bush said they were “slanderous,” while Scott Walker called on him to apologize, and Rick Perry (Oh, how sweet is this?) asked him to exit the race. (I’m a little surprised nobody called for him to be hanged at dawn.)
It’s like they were falling all over themselves to point the shame-shame finger at Trump.
Oh, come on!
Can we take a knee for just a moment and rewind to the day – this past Saturday – when Trump blurted his now infamous, “I like people who weren’t captured” line?
Inside of every other campaign headquarters from Miami to Madison and on every campaign bus (well, except Donald’s) you just know that the spin doctors all paused the way a toddler pauses when a knee gets skinned really bad … deep breath, gasp, and a moment of stunned silence … and then instead of crying, we can only imagine the shouts of joy.
“Hot dang! Did you hear what that crazy Donald Trump just said?!”
“He’s done! Let’s go people, we have to be the first in line to condemn him … oh man, this is totally awesome.”
Yes, Trump’s comments were disrespectful and offensive (what a shock) and it was necessary that each and every campaign needed to condemn him and his words. But can we all not pretend to see these campaign responses as anything other than what they are? They were calculated political responses designed to ensure that nobody missed what Trump just said.
And here is why it matters.
Everyone involved with these campaigns knows that we are headed into the final two weeks of determining who will appear on the Fox News debate island on Aug. 6. The other candidates were basically asking voters to vote Trump off that Fox News stage. (Right now, Perry is sitting at No. 11 so he is the most obvious beneficiary of Trump taking the exit ramp.)
Donald Trump has become a sad sideshow and a distraction to the important business of electing our nation’s next president. Except for a tiny minority of Americans, nobody wants to see him continue, especially those candidates who absolutely positively need to be on that stage.
The only problem is that his numbers appear to be holding and with only two weeks until the deadline, it looks to this writer like he will still be on that island. I’m not sure any amount of outrage – calculated or not – will keep him off.
Peter Schorsch is a new media publisher and political consultant based in St. Petersburg, Fla. Column courtesy of Context Florida.